Search for Isabel Celis Leads To Cadaver Alert In Home And Local Landfill- Family Barred From Home

Tucson, AZ-  Missing since Saturday morning around 8 am, six year old Isabel Celis was believed to be taken from the safety of her bedroom sometime after 11PM on Friday evening.

After Isa’s Mother Becky Celis left for work as a pediatric nurse at Tuscon Medical Center her Father told police he went to wake her at about 8am and she was not in her bed.   The blinds in her room were askew and her window was open.

The screen to her window had been removed.  Sergio Celis’s call t0 911 has not been released.

Early this morning,  the FBI deployed a scent tracking dog and a cadaver canine to the Celis home.   The family was then asked to make other living arrangements for the near future as the dogs produced evidence requiring further investigation.

Police Chief Roberto Villasenor would not reveal what was found at the home of first-grader Isabel Mercedes Celis.

Police have not said what that is,  but sources close to the family not willing to be identified have confirmed to that the specially trained cadaver dog  alerted to the detection of cadaverine.

The home is now being treated as a crime scene.

Police have not ruled out the parents as possible suspects, nor have they commented on whether or not the residence of a sex offender in the immediate neighborhood has been searched after obtaining new warrants today that have been sealed.   Another residence on the same street as the Celis family was searched this morning.

Late this afternoon, investigators headed to the landfill where the trash from the neighborhood was emptied Saturday prior to police having an opportunity to secure the scene.


Isabel’s disappearance is eerily similar to that of 10 month old Lisa Irwin , missing from her home since October 3, 2011 and has not been found.


Becky and Sergio Celis,  Isabel’s parents have not spoken publicly about their daughter’s disappearance.

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  1. SouthernMom says:

    I tried to find a link for this, but could not. I remember 4 or 5 years ago watching a news report with some video taken at a large soccer tournament near Dallas where LE identified numerous sex offenders on the video footage in attendance. They did not appear to be there for any particular game, just watching and lurking. I remember this because it was when we had begun traveling to other towns/cities to play in baseball tournaments and it reminded me to be very careful and we as a team decided to not include names on the jerseys to prevent a bad person from being able to identify our children or call them by name. I hope Tuscan parents and grandparents will share all photos and video of all games at the park that night. My guess is LE will be looking for known SO’s from the area that may show up in the background of pics and videos.

  2. Miss Bri says:

    @Blink- Thanks, that makes sense and will keep that in mind in the future.
    Miss Bri says:
    May 2, 2012 at 11:49 am

  3. Elizabeth says:

    On NG this evening she said the cousin has a bit of a past. He was charged with possession just over the border from Mexico. I forget all the details but it was more than a personal amount. More a selling amount.

    Perhaps the family is learning things they never knew about one of their own.

    You can read the NG transcript for details.

  4. Malty says:

    Seems like someone followed them home
    Watched the house lights go off and on in the
    Crawled in Isa’s window
    Did she fight and get hurt real bad
    But where is she

  5. Katy says:

    SouthernMom says:

    May 2, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    I tried to find a link for this, but could not. I remember 4 or 5 years ago watching a news report with some video taken at a large soccer tournament near Dallas where LE identified numerous sex offenders on the video footage in attendance. They did not appear to be there for any particular game, just watching and lurking. I remember this because it was when we had begun traveling to other towns/cities to play in baseball tournaments and it reminded me to be very careful and we as a team decided to not include names on the jerseys to prevent a bad person from being able to identify our children or call them by name. I hope Tuscan parents and grandparents will share all photos and video of all games at the park that night. My guess is LE will be looking for known SO’s from the area that may show up in the background of pics and videos.

    How disturbing to think about. How many of us would ever have thought numerous RSO’s at our children’s ll games?

    Understandably much of my input comes from personal incidents, but I can tell you they are ones to learn from. As stated before you all may think what a bad parent- reality is there is no such thing as a perfect parent. No matter which way we go there is always someone saying we should have done something different. Meanwhile we all make our way to keep our children safe, happy, and raise them to be the best citizen they can possible. Last year my 5 year old came across another student from his class in PreK. Every Tues/ Thurs they would meet up and play while the games were taking place. One particular evening they were playing with a large group of kids and just vanished. I cannot come close to explaining the fear that sank in immediately, the pain rushing through my body was so unbearable I could barely keep myself off the ground,but I knew I had to keep going to find him and his friend. We searched for hours to find him and her in a strangers home which lined the bb field. According to the kids they were playing a spongebob game with this ladies son. According to me I was ready to punch the lights out of this lady…wth were her intentions? The two were playing with the group then started playing near this house when the lady saw them she invited them over. Fortunately everything worked out, unharmed, and alive. This did not sooth my feelings. Immediately we went to the police. Fortunately 90% of our ll board of directors are police officers. One inparticular is a SGt for the childrens risk/ assessment. Without a doubt this lady will not do this again. My son is now in close range at all times, but even at close range monsters are among us.

  6. Katy says:

    On NG this evening she said the cousin has a bit of a past. He was charged with possession just over the border from Mexico. I forget all the details but it was more than a personal amount. More a selling amount.

    This may explain the international search. Beliefs he did this and the high possibility he took her to Mexico. Undoubtedly having ties to MX.

  7. Katy says:

    My big question is this:

    IF the Celis’s actually paid some ridiculous amount for their home, (which is odd in itself because according to one of the ex-FBI agents who often discusses the case on NG who used to work that area says is a known area for drug deals, etc) how does a dental hygienist and a pediatric nurse afford such a house? I can’t imagine Sergio’s opera singing nets a whole lot more than his regular salary for his other job, so how does one explain that? Did the Celis’s come into a lot of money within the last few yrs or something? If not, makes me wonder how someone can afford a 3800 sq foot house like that. Did they have some kind of business on the side as well? Just asking questions … it doesn’t make any logical sense to me.

    AZ is mostly state owned land. Buying a home is and has always been on the high side. This is common to anyone who lives there and really look at the furnishings in the pictures they dont have a ton of pricy high end items. Furthermore, dental hygientist make really good money as do pediatric nurses. This is not a family who are in their early 20′s. They established themselves first.

    No confirmation that Sergio is a dental hygenist, only that he has a background in opera.

    I disagree that the homeprice and size on that street is the norm. Anyone renovating to that extent on that block is aware that money is not coming back into the resale, period.

  8. Katy says:

    In 2009, the beginning of AZ builders downfall you could find houses for 50,000 and up due to high foreclosure rates. Also, remember the family moved down the street from grandpa. Most likely the neighborhood one grew up.

    Everyone knows that the price listed on the records/deed look up can be an actual loan amount, and not necessary what it was sold for, correct?

    In other words, could be refinance and equity based transaction.

  9. Katy says:

    7 years ago that would be the correct pricing for the house. No different than a 200k house being sold to a family whose income is 50k per yr there. To insenuate they were involved in other transactions is bothersome…In 2009 would have been the time a person could grab a deal in AZ. Before that what you see is what you get. Now there could be various factors, but truth be told theyre two established, educated individuals who created a family, the money to pay for such will be there. They are in healthcare not a common downsizing market instead inflates. Out in the middle of nowhere we paid 250k for a 1600sf home.

  10. Nana12 says:

    The whole matter is bizzare, what if she never made it home,dad was the last person with the child. can someone tell me if they know if it was her game that night or one of the brothers.Doesn’t it seem odd that a 6 year old would have a game so late. I’m from Tucson and all my kids games were from early moring or mid afternoon. The oldest child of course being a teen had late games,latest was at 8:00pm and then over about 10:00 pm,but for a six year old come on. By the way has mother returned to work,does anyone know and why is his job such a secret. I doubt he is a dental hygientist maybe the asstant to the hygientist. Whatever I truly believe the parents are hiding something and that explains why they don’t appear publicly,but will appear publicly for church,father had to appear in court for violation of their dogs. If it were my child I don’t care what condition or emotional state I would be in the public media daily. futher more about her window,my understanding LE showed no sign of foot prints outside her window,but the cadavar dog hit on something inside the home. LE won’t speak much they say they have information to “SENSITIVE TO SHARE” whats that suppose to mean. I know!! it means thay have nothing. The parents should be under “SCRUTINY” how blind can they be REALLY!!!

  11. Nana12 says:

    Another thing where was Mrs.Celis was the mother ever accounted for between the hours of 6:30am and 7:30am,because when this all first started the first report I had understood she had to be at work at midnight (12:00am) or was at work already since she works for TMC emergency as an RN. Later on it changed and I heard she had left her home at 7:30am. I heard she work 3 twelve hours shifts.Dose anyone know if she had showed up for work. Was it verified? Did she work a late shift or a moring shift LE never stated that they verified any of that info,they never verified fathers employment and I’m not talking his opera singing. True how do they afford a $435.000 home.

  12. Elizabeth says:

    That house looks like Fort Knox!

  13. Cindy says:

    Above video from MSNBC interview with Mr. & Mrs. Celis this a.m. All people react differently to things, but they seem to detached to me. MOO

  14. SouthernMom says:

    The “wrong night” video still shows someone on the property approaching a window. My understanding based on the Neighbor’s account and on camera interview is Isa’s window did not face the parking lot/alley, but her side property. Even if this video was for the night after the alleged abduction, what the heck is someone doing on their property at any window?

    Southern Mom, heart u, but I presume you missed my pictures of the actual location of that footage. Nowhere near a window or the Celis home.

  15. SouthernMom says:

    Thanks Blink, I had missed that.

  16. A Texas Grandfather says:


    I agree with you about the probability of RSO’s going to sporting events to be around children. Almost twenty years ago our youngest daughter took her children to a soccer tournament in Ft. Worth. Her youngest (10 at the time) was a memeber of a team playing in the tournament.

    A seven year old girl was abducted during one of the games. The mother alerted the announcer, the game was stopped and everyone commenced to look for the child. She was found in a creek near the tournament site about an hour later. She was of course deceased.

    It took them two months to find the perp. Childrens sports events draw RSO like flies to honey. If I had children involved in sports today where they played in public parks, I would be on super alert. These people are predators and cannot help themselves. IMO none of these people should ever be allowed into society once they are identified and convicted of a sexual crime.

    Could this be what happened in this case? Could a predator have climbed the wall and entered the house via an open window or sliped through the garage without detection? IDK. However, the police should know by now if that type of event occured.

  17. lawkat says:

    Based upon my own OCD examination of maps, google earth and my personal knowledge of Tucson: Moore’s cameras are pointed south straight at the Celis’ front door but blocked by a two-story house; Office Max’s cameras (if there are any) would be pointed east at the street side of the Celis house (i.e, the opposite side of the house from Isabel’s bedroom) and the camera at the church points east but further south (i.e.directed at Cooper St. )so the Celis home is not visible).
    Moore’s cameras could “see” people or traffic approaching the home from either side. The Church camera cannot “see” the home but could see people or traffic traveling south away from the Celis home and the Office Max camera (if there is one) could see people or traffic on the street side (i.e. west side) of the Celis home and in the alley behind the home. It might also be able to “see” activity in the Celis driveway. If there is no camera at office max then I do not believe that the home itself is visible in either of the other two cameras.

    Blink, do you know whether there is a camera behind Office Max?

    lawkat- I fixed your name again, next post please check, if not, change it and it will stay like that, lol.

    I do not.

  18. lawkat says:

    I just posted and my name automaticalloy appears — my user name is lawkat —how do I fix this?

    just addressed this on your last post. When you got to comment you must fix it if it comes up incorrectly, you may be clicking on a drop down and not realizing it.

  19. Pak31 says:

    Some of the things that bother me are the lack of details regarding the night she went to sleep and the morning she was gone. The timeline is extremely vague. Maybe with more interviews, reporters will try to narrow that down. Nana12, you asked whose game it was that Friday night. It was one of Isabel’s brothers. She is only 6 and for her to not go to bed until 11 pm the night before bothers me. Doesn’t mean anything but it’s odd to me. The dad said in the Today interview that she had to get up very early the next day. Well, 8 am isn’t very early. Her game was at 9 am and I know where we live the kids usually get to the games at least a half hour before it starts. I am assuming it was close by but still, if he went in to get her at 8 am, that wouldn’t give her much time to get ready for her game. Uniform, breakfast, etc. Anyone else feel that way or am I way off here? My kids(girl and boy)both play ball and there is no way either could get up with less than an hour to get ready, but that is just my opinion.

  20. SouthernMom says:

    ATG – you are so right, and parents should not assume if a group of siblings are playing together at the “playground” they are safe in numbers. I know the siblings (often sisters) are at the ball park with their families all day sometimes and want to go to the playground area, but should not be allowed to do so unsupervised. I see this often and I believe parents think as long as they are together, they’ll be safe.

    Anyway, hoping if ball park is the link, that photos and video taken at the park that evening can help lead LE to the perp.

  21. [...] of Saturday April 21st from the window of her bedroom allegedly,  the search for 6 year old Isabel Mercedes Celis has taken a turn toward her [...]

  22. T. Ruth says:

    In the Ann Curry interview this morning, a couple of things seemed off to me. One was the way whenever Sergio was talking, the mother seemed to close her eyes and look down. Also when they first opened the interview, one would think that an opera singer who is basically an actor would not look scared, JMO, but he looked scared to death, not sure which video it was Curry’s are the other one, but he looked petrified whereas Becky did not. AJMO

    This however, got my attention, he said that Becky had just braided Isa’s hair and she looked beautiful “walking by”, which he reiterates another time. Saying further he asked her if she was hungry and she said no, just tired. (This was all in answer to Curry’s question of when was the last time he saw her.) Okay, I thought he put her to bed? Wouldn’t that be the last time he saw her? And why would the mother take the time to braid her hair, and not put her in her night clothes? So who put her to bed, tucked her in?

    Something just not sounding right here. What a beautiful little bubbly girl in the video, prayers for you Isa.

  23. Malty says:

    The whole deal about SO s hanging out at kids games is almost to much for me
    What we (I ) don’t know or understand about these creeps would fill a crater
    and the story about some lady inviting kids into her home
    Is another shock what was with her anyway
    I am truly glad I am not trying to raise children

    Lots of large familys help each other get homes

  24. Constance says:

    Maybe Dad works in one of the many dental clinics south of the border? My husband goes down there sometimes for dental work, lol.

  25. Word Girl says:

    I just checked (as I’m sure Blink has) on the dental licenses in Arizona and found no dentist, dental hygienist, or denturist going by the name of Sergio Celis.

    TY WordGirl, and yes, we did early on, nada.

  26. Katy says:

    Is there a way to check into dad being a dental hyg. in Mexico? Just a thought. Second, he may have went to school for the trade, chooses not to practice?

  27. Constance says:

    Yesterday it was indicated that Sergio is an assistant to a dental surgeon…not sure if that requires a license…not sure why we are wondering about it anyway, personally…do we think he is working illegally? Under an assumed name? I think the family is pretty well established in Tuscon, personally…not seeing anything there. Think this is someone close to family, though, or at least someone who knows the home, the area, etc…knew how to avoid the many cameras, knew theirs did not work…

  28. Word Girl says:

    Katy, I tried to search the Mexican licenses but didn’t find a central listing for them; nor one by state.

    Constance, I agree with your assessment that SC would not be working illegally anywhere. Opera folks are generally very solid people.

    On licensing, anyone touching a patient and making decisions about a patient’s health needs a license. Administrative employees don’t need a license, but some take outside course work, depending on the job and their career goals.


  29. Word Girl says:

    *tired and tried to catch that last typo–dang.*

  30. Constance says:

    Why does this thread say “cadaver alert”? The only place I have seen that a cadaver dog was the one who alerted was on the JVM show and she is pretty loose with facts…LE has not said this at all.

    Yes they have, they have stated each dog alerted. That would be a bloodhound, a tracking canine and a cadaver canine.


  31. lyla says:

    Friday’s press conference:

    “Citing the integrity of the investigation, Sergio and Becky Celis would not discuss the results of their polygraph tests or say much about what actually happened on the night Isabel disappeared, but they did strongly defend their handling of the media so far. They said they are private people who are not comfortable in front of the camera, and they do not know how others expect them to act.

    “I’m sorry if we did this wrong,” Becky said. “…What I want is her here home having a normal life. This is not what I want.”

    Sergio said it is “extremely frustrating” that Isabel is still missing two weeks later and police share that frustration. Becky said they cannot figure out why anyone would have targeted their daughter. They have some family members in Mexico, but none that would have any reason to threaten them or Isabel.

    “I don’t know what to say other than that you are wrong,” Sergio said in response to the suggestion that he may have been involved in Isabel’s disappearance.

    “We don’t have anything to hide,” Becky said. “Say what you want to say. We are confident we had nothing to do with it.”

    The couple said they do not have an attorney and see no reason why they would need one. Sergio told the reporters that he “absolutely” thinks he and his wife should have been eliminated as suspects by now, but they understand that police have to consider everything.

    Sergio initially believed Isabel’s bedroom window—which was open with the screen removed when they reported her missing on the morning of April 21—was her abductor’s point of entry, but without going into detail about why, he said he is no longer sure about that.

    They denied a rumor that there was a party at the house on the night Isabel disappeared, and they laughed at the suggestion that NBC News paid them for home video used in the “Today Show” segment. That video was released to other news stations later in the day Thursday.

    The parents talked a lot about the power of prayer and how the “worldwide chain of prayer” supporting them is helping them through their ordeal. They also thanked the volunteers who are out assisting with the search for Isabel.

    Asked whether they have a message for their daughter if she is watching, Sergio said, “We miss you so much, Isabel…We will not stop looking for you.”

    “We will always love you too much. Just come home,” Becky said.”

  32. Heather says:

    I found this ABC article that mentions the hit inside the Celis’s home by the dogs:

    (In case you are interested Constance.)

  33. Peter says:

    GraceintheHills – Danielle van Dam case

    According to the time line presented in court, Danielle was only taken AFTER her mother got home, so it wouldn’t have made any difference if Mom had checked on her then.
    She admitted to smoking weed that night, but what evidence is there that Westerfield knew this?
    I’m surprised to read that the public believed the father was the primary POI: the police made it very obvious, very early, that they suspected Westerfield, and said that the parents were not suspects.
    It’s not only the dog which wasn’t disturbed by the perpetrator: neither were Danielle’s father or her mother and their four friends who arrived back while the perpetrator was still in the house.
    Some of that “child porn” was on his son’s computer, but he wasn’t charged because it WASN’T child porn, and the prosecution knew it.
    There was no evidence that Westerfield had cased Danielle’s home. And I’m curious to learn what evidence there was that he befriended their dog.

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